Recently, I had the pleasure of talking to Tabitha Mancini, Director of Winston in College Online. Winston recently became a sponsor of this Dyslexic Advantage community, but I’ve known Tabitha for over a decade. She’s been active in the learning support of dyslexic and other neurodiverse students for over a decade. When I first met Tabitha, she was a learning strategy instructor at the University of Connecticut and we had talked about how she helped students and how it was important for students to have a positive understanding of their strengths and differences. Later when our paths crossed again, she was a director of the dual degree program at Landmark College. Because Tabitha is also dyslexic herself, she is in a unique position to advise dyslexic students.
Winston Prep is a network of 8 schools for students with learning differences – the first school was founded in the New York, and now there are schools also in Connecticut, New Jersey, Long Island, and in Marin County, California.
Their physical campuses are for students ages 8-21, but their resources will help many families with their 1:1 support of college students, many of whom will be away from their families and traditional sources of support for the first time in their lives.
The first year of college can be a vulnerable time for many students; many students don’t request accommodations and if their first tests and courses don’t go well, they may decide to leave school and wrongly conclude that higher education is not for them.
In the Winston in College Program, students meet 2-3 times per week and specialists provide subject support, but the program is also very attuned to social and emotional support; there are so many unique challenges that take place on college campuses and for some students, difficulties can grow in there isn’t close communication with students on a regular basis.
Tabitha recently hosted a webinar What to Expect in College where other college disability professionals share their advice for incoming or college students.
The professionals represented here were from University of Illinois-Urbana, Yale University, and University of Connecticut.